Ozark Highlands Trail: Western Terminus to Frog Bayou

EASY 14 reviews

Ozark Highlands Trail: Western Terminus to Frog Bayou is a 5.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Maddux Spring, Arkansas that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.5 miles
308 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly








historic site

A great way to get your feet on the Ozark Highlands Trail. The new Lake Fort Smith was opened about 10 years ago and includes a new Western Terminus for the Ozark Highlands Trail. This small section of it starts at the visitors center, winds behind the camping area, past a small waterfall and some old home sites, and along the lake to Frog Bayou. This is a good place to stop and head back, as this area can be impassible when the water is high.

4 months ago

Great trail along the lake that has a nice loop back to the visitors center at the park.

11 months ago

Loved this trail. Well marked and just the right amount of challenge.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

WARNING: There is a lot of poison ivy along the sides of the trail!! But heck, this is the Ozarks, it's everywhere this time of year. That in mind, this is a nice relaxing hike through the woods that offers views of the lake and different rock formations. I only made mention of the poison ivy for those who are allergic to it. Which I am, and I probable would have wore hiking pants since it was a nice day and not too hot. And FYI, you can actually make this a loop hike if you take the Shepherd Springs Loop trail which links towards the beginning and end of this trail. The Shepherd Springs Loop also offers views of different rock formations. Only 4 stars because we save 5 for trails with awesome, spectacular views.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Amazing scenery !!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Came back for another rainy day hike, but decided to do the Shepherd Springs Loop. Half of the loop is the Ozark Highlands Trail. There are some nice overlooks on the SS Loop, but there's not much to see this time of year with everything fully leafed out. I'll come back when the leaves are gone to check out the views, but probably not until then.

Monday, April 10, 2017

I think one of the neat things about hiking in Arkansas is one's occasional brushes with the "big" trails here: the Buffalo River Trail, the Butterfield Hiking Trail, and the Ozark Highlands Trail. Deliberately hiking on one of these trails, right where it starts seemed like a proper way to pay homage.

The trailhead is easy to find. There's a large, beautiful trailhead sign to the left of the visitor's center, and then smaller signs later on to make sure you stay on the trail. There are some scrambly, rocky areas, but, for the most part, the trail is level and clear. There's a lot to see: great lake views, a nice little waterfall, two home sites, an old cistern. The spring wildflowers were everywhere on our visit. It was also raining that day, and there were lots and lots of little streams and creeks to cross.

Once you get to the Frog Bayou Creek area, you'll see why this area can be a no-go when the water is high. Two women ahead of us who were thru-hiking managed to cross, but I'm not sure where. Continuing on is certainly an option if conditions are right. Turning back here made for a nice, 6-mile hike.

6 months ago

7 months ago

Thursday, June 29, 2017